Зображення сторінки

Yet Marcus Licinius Crassus Dives, to give him his name in full, was one of the very foremost of Pompey's present contemporaries. He not only belonged to a distinguished house, but possessed undeniable claims to present distinction, in consequence both of his afflictions under Marius and Cinna, and of the rich harvest he had latterly reaped from the favors and proscriptions of Sulla. Over a depth of intrigue and covetousness within him was spread a fairer surface of liberality and cordiality, on which his popularity and wealth were long supported. Another of Sulla's inheritors was his favorite and able partisan, Lucius Licinius Lucullus, in whom a higher statesmanship and intellectual power than were then common, even to the ablest men, would have merited superior fame to that which he obtained in warfare, had they not been wasted in his overpowering prodigality. The want of system in Lucullus and the want of ability in Crassus increased the void which Pompey, though younger than either," was prepared to fill.

On the last day of the year in which Pompey returned from Spain, his second triumph was celebrated, in the midst of universal rejoicing. Immediately afterwards, he entered upon his first consulship, to which he not only obtained his own election, in violation of the law which Sulla had left concerning previous occupation of the prætorship and quæstorship, but likewise procured the elevation of Crassus, who stooped to sue for his protection in the canvass. The power of the office remained with Pompey, and it is to him, directly or indirectly, that the proceedings of the year are to be ascribed.

6 In which he was now engaged the year A. C. 115. Lucullus was against Mithridates. See notes 42, some years younger. Plut., Crass., 43, and text.

8, 17; Lucull., 36 ; Pomp., 31. 7 Crassus was born in or before

If we do not err in our estimate of Pompey's character, the impulse which led him to propose or to favor changes in the lately established constitution was, neither a strong conviction of their particular necessity nor a roving inclination to any general reform, but the determination, already evinced in his canvass for the consulship, to prove his independence of the dominion that had so long survived its founder.

In this view, he projected the restoration of the tribunate, mere shadow 10 as it had been made by Sulla, to its ancient fulness of form; and though the Senate opposed the measure, the support of the Knights and the acclamations of the Tribes gave it hearty greeting. To the pride of Pompey and to the joy of nearly all the Commonwealth, the Tribunes of the Plebeians, as they were still called, received the rights of rogation and intercession that had been in the keeping of their predecessors." It is almost superfluous to intimate that the men to whom these powers were now committed bore no resemblance in general to the Tribunes of ancient days.

The title that Pompey intended to wear, as the first citizen, if no more, of Rome, was tarnished by the avarice and the cruelty of the Senators who sat upon the judicial tribunals according to the law of the Dictator. A man, named Verres, lately Prætor of Sicily for three years, who had been often heard to say that one year of his government was for himself, another for his advocates, and a third for his judges, was impeached by Cicero for vile oppression of his province. “In this trial,” exclaimed the warmhearted orator to the Senators before whom he spoke, " ye will judge the culprit, and the people will judge you.'? ..... Or it will come to pass,” he urged, “ that embassies will arrive from our subjects to entreat the repeal of the laws against extortion, on the plea that they are able to satisfy their governors, but that to gorge the judges of their governors is impossible.” 13 The reform reclaimed in the judiciary was needed, as Cicero knew, throughout the entire system of administration; and the words we have read are to be taken in connection with the law authorized, though not brought forward, by Pompey, if we would comprehend how much was done and how much was left undone in the reaction he led against the system of his former sovereign. After the plan, before mentioned, 14 of the Tribune Plautius, concerning the union of different classes in the judiciary, the Prætor Aurelius Cotta proposed a bill to appoint the judges from the Senators and Knights promiscuously, together with the Ærarian Tribunes, who, as paymasters of the armies, might represent the lower orders at the tribunals.15 The bill, of course, became a law.

8 Plut., Pomp., 30; Crass., 12.
9 A. C. 70.
10 - Tribunitiam potestatem .....

cujus Sulla imaginem sine re reli-
querat.” Vell. Pat., II. 30.

11 Liv., Epit. XCVII.


12 In Verr. Act. I., 16.

similar authority during his cor13 Ibid., 14. See Sect. 1 and 15, rupted times. He was supported likewise. The bitter invectives by them ; yet he was obliged to fly against Verres, whose prætorship before the evidence in his prosecuin Sicily extended from A. C. 73 to tion was concluded. 71, must rather be read as if they 14 At the beginning of the prehad been directed against all in ceding chapter, p. 335.

The revival of the censorship, after a suspension of several years, was another event of the same consulate. Some sixty Senators were degraded on account of their rapacity or dishonesty,16 to which none could be more opposed than Pompey; and had the faults in which he shared been similarly sentenced, the Censors might have held their offices with some advantage. It soon seemed proved for what purpose they had been elected, when the Knights were ordered, according to ancient custom, to pass before them in review. In the procession, as it descended into the Forum, came Pompey himself, surrounded by lictors and arrayed in the consular robes, yet leading his horse like any other Knight that walked before or after him. As he drew nearer to the tribunal on which the Censors sat in solemn state, he bade his lictors stay, while he advanced alone, still leading his horse, to be inspected by the magistrates in proper form. The people looked on in silent wonder; but when they heard their hero reply to the interrogatories of the elder Censor, that he had served all the campaigns exacted by the law under his own command, the shouts of the multitude declared their de

15 Liv., Epit. XCVII. Cic., In Verr. Act. II., III. 96.

16 “ Furti et captarum pecunia

rum nomine.” Cic., Pro Cluent., 42. Liv., Epit. XCVIII.


light, while the Censors themselves arose to conduct the Knight and the Consul home.17

Pompey's temper appears to have changed before the deference 18 and the adulation he received. He was no longer so affable,19 no longer so ready simply to take, without any marked earnestness to seek, new honors; and yet he seemed to have become more modest, when he laid down his office at the expiration of the year, and, dismissing his army, refused the government of a province, as if he were weary of authority. There is, however, no actual contradiction between the testimonies which remain concerning him; and it was because he knew himself to be in command of Rome, that he at once appeared to exact more and to accept less from his submissive countrymen. It could scarcely be called retirement to which he for a season withdrew.

The tendency of most men in Rome to indolence and revelry was in perfect harmony with the superiority of a single citizen. Two or three years, during which Pompey held no office, although he never appeared in public without a numerous train ?of friends or fawners, passed by in that tranquillity which proves, whatever be its nature, that a people have found their deserts or their desires. With the exception of an effort, apparently? successful, to re

17 Plut., Pomp., 22.

bly sought a reconciliation. Plut., 18 Of which another striking in- Pomp., 23 ; Crass., 12. stance may be observed in the con- 9 Plut., Pomp., 23. duct of Crassus, who, after some 20 Ibid. opposition to his colleague, hum- 2 Incidentally mentioned in an


[ocr errors]
« НазадПродовжити »